Robin

Anne Valley Walk

Anne Valley Trail is one of the overlooked treasures of Waterford county. I have written about the trail before. This is what I found on my last visit.

Rushes were swaying to and fro rustling in the wind, and I noticed a tiny ladybug feasting on something that looked like a caterpillar.

Yellow dung fly sat chilling on the young fern frond. Don’t be misled by the name – adult dung flies spend most of their time hunting small insects in vegetation.

Furled fronds of young ferns look like cute little animals.

This one looks like a furry snake 🙂

Larches sport the most beautiful shade of  green.

I check on every blackbird I see in case it is a Red billed chough. There is a couple of them living in the Anne Valley. I saw one last year, but it quickly disappeared in bushes before I grabbed my camera.

The blackbird is quietly following me as I walk.

Finally he shows himself for long enough to take a picture. Funny, curious bird.

Song Thrush young keep together.

This scared baby is a juvenile Robin. A clumsy dove landed on his tree and he moved closer to where I sit. I feel good 🙂

Warbler ignores me as if I don’t exist.

I took pictures of some simple but beautiful flowers.

This insect is trying to look like a wasp, but it has only one pair of wings and quite a wide waist which gives away its true identity : it is a Syrphid fly.

A group of swans, some of them last year’s cygnets, are floating near the island in the middle of the pond where they will spend the night.

Four ducks, survivors of the family of ten, didn’t want to be photographed.

The swans are finally getting ready for the night, and I am heading home.

One more picture of Foxglove before I drive away.

Thank you for joining me for this walk.

www.inesemjphotography.com  Have a wonderful week ahead!

Waterford Greenway: do it the green way

I absolutely believe that every child should have the experience of riding a train. I don’t remember my first train ride. I was only two weeks old then. The trains have changed a lot since, and most of the railways have been closed.

The first public railway in Ireland was opened in 1834 between Dublin and Kingstown ( now DĂşn Laoghaire ) despite local opposition. The railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan was built in the 1870’s to link up with the Lismore and Mallow railway. The stations along the route were Kilmeadan, Kilmacthomas and Durrow. It was a very expensive line to be built at the time, with a 418 feet long tunnel, three stone viaducts, two causeways, a number of bridges and three road crossings. The railway line was officially opened in August 1878 with the first train departing Waterford at 10.10.

The first pedal-driven bicycle arrived to Ireland in the 1860’s. It was heavy and uncomfortable, and didn’t impress most of the population. The things changed in the 1880’s with the introduction of the chain-driven bicycle and Dunlop’s pneumatic tyres. Cycling became a part of the everyday modern life, however the ladies wearing trousers caused quite a stir and often faced verbal abuse.

St Patrick's Parade

The Waterford-Dungarvan railway line was closed in the 1960’s as part of a major program of line closures. The last passenger train left Dungarvan for Roscrea in 1967. The tracks were removed in the 1990’s, but later Kilmeadan-Waterford section of the route was leased to the Suir Valley Railway group, and the tracks were restored. The Waterford & Suir Valley Heritage route was opened to the public in 2004. The route operates from April to September, and also during Christmas holidays, midterm etc. At the same time, a Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the railway was developed as a walkway/cycle path.

Some facts and anecdotes from the Waterford railway history can be found in this link.

Railways are declining. Cyclists are thriving 🙂

St Patrick's Parade

In 2013, the Deise Greenway group handed over 7000 signatures of support to the Mayor of Waterford County and the Major of Waterford City for the Greenway bicycle route  to be developed in the place of the disused railway line from Waterford to Dungarvan. In 2014 the project was approved.

 

Complete route has been launched today, yet construction works are still in progress. I have walked the Greenway on many occasions, and decided to put up four blog posts with photographs from different sections, so that you know how many photo opportunities the route can offer 🙂 These are all early spring pictures.

We start the route from Gracedieu, Waterford.

waterford

Waterford Greenway

The most beautiful feature on this stretch of the road is the Red Iron Bridge.

Red Iron Bridge

The bridge was constructed in 1906 to link the port of Rosslare to Cork and Kerry as a route for ‘boat trains’ and faster transatlantic mail delivery. Local children used to walk across the bridge to get a can of coke from a shop on the other side. It was a beautiful nine span bridge with the central span opening  for shipping. It still has its control cabin from where powerful hydraulic mechanisms were operated to lift and lover the central span.

Red iron bridge

red iron bridge

Now the central span is removed and the bridge looks gap-toothed…

The bridge has always attracted the local youth. To get to the bridge you have to walk a muddy path. If you walk off the path you step on a wobbly surface that used to be a local kids favorite fun.  It is quite scary, but probably exciting for the kids to walk on the wobbling ground ( I did it). Teenagers used to come here and drink some beer. I don’t know if someone is still coming here, I have to go and check out. This photograph was taken in 2005.

On the opposite side of the river there is a group of derelict buildings and abandoned boats. It was a busy area in years gone by.

Newrath

waterford

Newrath

We keep walking along the Greenway path ( watch for the dog poop) and leave the Red Iron Bridge behind. I always hope to see birds, and lucky me – there is a Robin.

robin

The Robin is inspecting the cracks in the wooden sleepers.

robin

His body language is so cute 🙂

robin

robin

After a quiet conversation with a neighbor they both take off.

robin

Another landmark is The River Suir Bridge – a cable stayed bridge with a length of 475 m (1558 f)  that was opened in 2009. I drove over this bridge twice with no reason, just for fun. This bridge has the same purpose as the abandoned railway – to connect the port of Rosslare to Cork and Kerry.

Waterford Bridge

Waterford Bridge

On the opposite side there is a green field, tangled brambles, ferns and ivies. I imagine how beautiful this all looks in summer.

I love the silhouettes of dry plants still standing as if there was no winter.

This walk took one hour. There is a tunnel around the bend, and next week we will start from there.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Robin, little creatures and a Royal Fern in the woods

robin

There are so many Robin pictures in this post that I decided to link it to Robin’s blog Witlessdatingafterfifty 🙂 Please visit and follow!

So, I met this handsome little Robin, distracted him with a small talk and took out my camera. I kept talking and shooting, and he didn’t mind much and didn’t fly away because he was in his mid-moult at that time. It takes energy to build new feathers…

robin

… and it is itchy too.

robin

Robin changed his position and turned back to see if I still was there.

robin

I still was. He looked at me disapprovingly, and I quietly retired blowing him a kiss for a ‘thank you’.

robin

Here is another example of moulting – a grasshopper ‘skin’ we found in the backyard.

moulting

It is not a skin, of course, but his exoskeleton. To know more about grasshopper moulting,  watch this short video accompanied by romantic music. 🙂

I saw this colorful piece of land in my car window and made a note to visit it on my way back. It wasn’t easy to find it again but after the series of U-turns I finally parked on the opposite side of the road and took many photographs for a future use.

meadow

In this meadow, there are three weeds in bloom: Meadowsweet, Purple Loosestrife and unwelcome Ragwort.

This is Meadowsweet, a very popular herb of many uses I wrote about in my blog in 2014.

dropwort

The other plant is Purple Loosestrife. This is a closer look. Loosestrife is a very effective cure in case of chronic diarrhea and dysentery.

suir

From a distance, Loosestrife looks very similar to Rosebay, another great herb. If you struggle to put a name to a plant, here is a very good website Irish Plants by Color.

rosebay

The Ragwort seems like being good for nothing since it is toxic for the cattle and horses. Yet, Ragwort provides food and home for at least 77 species of insects, including Cinnabar moth.

cinnabar

Cinnabar moth’s larvae absorb toxic and bitter tasting alkaloids from Ragwort, and predators don’t eat them.

cinnabar

Another two little creatures I want to share – a funnel weaver spider…

spider

… and a hunting wasp Ammophila.

Ammophila

Both insects are great builders. Ammophila wasps even use small pebbles to hammer the earth when they make their nests. They hold the pebbles in their jaws.

Some creatures and plants are so amazing, that they get immortalized in mythology. Like Fern. Or, rather, Fern Flower. This magic flower from Finnish, Baltic and Slavic mythology can be found around the Summer Solstice. According to different myths, it can either give you an access to earthly riches and hidden treasures, or be a symbol of fertility and relationship, and searching for the fern flower in the dark of the shortest night of the year is a big part of celebration.

In fact, ferns are not flowering plants. However the clusters of sporangia of Royal Fern do resemble flowers. Especially in the dark 🙂

royal fern

Such fern grows in the Carey Castle woods, where I took this photograph. It wasn’t exactly the Summer Solstice night though 🙂


James Herriot, the most famous veterinary surgeon, was born 100 years ago, on October 3rd 1916. If you didn’t read his books yet, please do! I celebrated his birthday by rereading All Creatures Great And Small. 

James Herriot

Thank you for stopping by ! 🙂

inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!